By Karen Billing
With his two daughters in tow and fresh from a trip to Sacramento, California State Assemblyman (77th district) Brian Maienschein stopped into the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s Jan. 23 meeting for a visit. Maienschein talked about his freshman year at the state capitol and some of the bills he was proud to be able to pass in 2013.
One of them was AB-465, which requires background checks on youth sports league coaches and mandates that they disclose that have done the background checks. To Maienschein, he said it seemed like common sense and was especially important to him as a father.
Another accomplishment Maienschein said he is proud of is his work with Project 25, an initiative that identifies the most expensive, chronically homeless people in San Diego County and seeks to find permanent housing and supportive solutions for them. Many of them are veterans. Project 25 identified 38 of the most expensive homeless people who, in total, cost taxpayers $25 million a year to be homeless, some of them visiting the emergency room upward of 200 times a year. All 38 remain in housing and the cost to taxpayers has been reduced to $5 million.
“We’re working to replicate this program in counties across the state,” Maienschein said. “It solves a problem and saves a lot of money.”
The planning board took the opportunity to speak to Maienschein about the issue with the stalled Del Mar Mesa resource management plan and trail closures on the Mesa. Manjeet Ranu, the board’s vice chair, said that state and federal agencies have pressed the city to shut down the Mesa and they have rangers out ticketing people using the trails. Not allowing public access into the preserved land is not working and he asked if Maienschein could possibly work with Congressman Scott Peters and Senator Marty Block to try and find a solution.
“There’s no end in site to the plan ever being completed,” Ranu said.
Ranu, as well as Gary Levitt, chair of the Del Mar Mesa Community Planning Board, said that city staff has done all they can, it’s the state and federal agencies that have created a “bureaucratic maze.”
“We need to focus on solutions or even at least open the trails because the heavy-handed, black and white approach the resource agencies have taken has failed,” Ranu said.
He said their only hope now is asking elected officials like Maienschein to put pressure on the agencies.
Maienschein told the board he would try to do what he could on this issue.